Solar energy non-profit receives award
Local non-profit solar energy provider, Black Rock Solar, earned national recognition for their solar energy installations and educational work last week.
The organization won the Brian D. Robertson Solar Schools Memorial Fund Award after being nominated by the fund’s board and then voted on by the public. They were in the running against Grid Alternatives and Solar Liberty for the vote. BRS was honored for this award at Solar Power World magazine’s Top 250 Solar Contractors Gala on Oct. 21.
This gala was scheduled during Solar Power International 2013 in Chicago, which is a large annual solar industry conference. It was attended by over 15,000 solar industry professionals from more than 75 countries, according to the conference’s website. Executive Director Patrick “Paddy” McCully accepted this award at the gala in Chicago.
The memorial fund is named in honor of a solar industry giant who died suddenly in December 2011. Brian D. Robertson was a leader of several different solar companies, including Amonix Inc. where he was CEO. Amonix Inc. specializes in the design and manufacturing of solar power plants.
“Brian Robertson was a prominent leader in the solar industry … and then was killed in a plane crash, so this memorial was set up for him,” McCully said. “I never met him, but he was very into philanthropy and helping schools. The memorial fund is set up to award people in the solar industry who help with schools and things like that. It’s really nice to get this recognition for the work we’re doing.”
The gala hosted the top 250 solar contractors—as its name suggests—in the country, including five contractors from Nevada. Three of these were from Las Vegas—Bombard Renewable Energy at rank 71, Sol-Up USA at rank 203 and Robco Electric at rank 206. One was also from Carson City—Sierra Solar Systems at rank 196—and one was from Reno—Hamilton Solar at rank 101. These five companies are responsible for 81.27 megawatts of solar energy installed and employ 145 employees.
McCully explained that the organization is honored to receive this award but is truly excited by what it could do for the organization’s future solar installation projects because of the fact that BRS is receiving the award in front of the biggest and best solar contractors in the business.
“We’re a non-profit, so we have to try to get donations to do our work. We’re getting recognition for our work and recognition from the solar industry, and hopefully that will be helpful in getting donations from the solar industry for solar panels and equipment,” McCully said. “We do projects for people that couldn’t normally afford it, so those things are helpful.”
BRS has currently installed more than three megawatts of solar power in Nevada since its beginning at the Burning Man festival in 2007 where it installed a 30-kilowatt photovoltaic array, later donated to Gerlach. Those three megawatts are made up of over 15,000 individual solar panels that have been installed on schools, non-profit organizations, hospitals, tribal buildings and community centers.